Marrakech in three days: tours, monuments and visits not to miss a thing

Marrakech has many attractions to visit, such as its narrow streets, its monuments, its deserts or the Atlas Mountains. Three days is enough time to visit this beautiful Moroccan city.

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

9 min read

Marrakech in three days: tours, monuments and visits not to miss a thing

View of Marrakech | ©MAX LIBERTINE

Three days are enough for everything there is to see and do in Marrakech, plus a half-day excursion. Walking through its wonderful gardens, the labyrinthine streets of its Medina, its souks and, of course, the Jamaa el Fna square, the traveler will feel totally intoxicated in this World Heritage city in the category of cultural space.

Day 1: from the Jamaa el Fna square to the medina of Marrakech

Djemaa el Fna square| ©Boris Macek
Djemaa el Fna square| ©Boris Macek

The best option to tour the medina, the souk and other attractions of old Marrakech is to hire a guided tour of Marrakech. This way, you will learn all the secrets of this exotic city and open your mind to all the new experiences you are going to live.

In addition, the visit to Marrakech generates in some people some uncertainty. While in my experience the most problematic thing you may encounter is some overly pushy salesman or some fake guide trying to get you to hire him, booking a guided tour in advance and keeping in mind some safety tips in Marrakech can be two good measures to alleviate that fear.

Book a guided tour in Marrakech

Explore the Medina

To start your visit to Marrakech there is nothing better than touring the Medina of Marrakech. This ancient part of the city has about 1000 years of history and is composed of a large number of streets, usually narrow, through which it is very easy to get lost.

When you're walking through these streets you can get a little overwhelmed by the large number of people in them and how easy it is to lose your sense of direction. For this reason, hiring a tour of the Medina of Marrakech can be a great option to go with an expert guide who will facilitate the walk.

Fortunately, the medina of Marrakech has some places where you can relax. Among them is the so-called Secret Garden, an elegant palace located in the center of the old city. Don't hesitate to stop here to take a breather while sipping some mint tea in the cafeteria.

Book a tour of the Medina of Marrakech

Medersa (or Madrasa) Ben Youssef, another must-see in the medina.

Another must-see attraction in the medina is the Medersa Ben Youssef, a former Islamic school that once had 900 students. The entrance fee is charged, but the peaceful atmosphere inside makes it well worth a visit.

Those who know the Alhambra in Granada will find some similarities with this old school, especially in its courtyard decorated with a fountain in its center. It is also interesting to look at the tiles on the walls, which give the whole a beauty.

Book a tour of the Medina of Marrakech

Stroll and shop in the souk

Still in the medina, this first day I suggest you take a walk in the souk to buy some gifts. The crowds are even more crowded in these areas than in the rest of the old city and, in addition, buyers mix with sellers and the stalls where the goods are displayed. Therefore, again I recommend you to book a guided tour of the souk Marrakech to avoid all kinds of possible inconveniences.

Actually, you could say that there are several different souks, as you can clearly see that there are several zones depending on the type of product being sold:

  • Fabrics.
  • Tin products.
  • Foodstuffs.
  • Sale of spices, medicinal herbs and basketry.

Remember that to buy you must bargain with the seller until you reach an agreement on the price!

Book a guided tour of the souk Marrakech

First visit to Jamaa el Fna

Of course, on this first day you can not miss the most iconic place in the city: the Jamaa el Fna square.

In this first visit you will see that this square represents the whole spirit of the city. Here you will see from natural fruit juice stalls to storytellers, without forgetting the jugglers or snake charmers.

Book a tour of the Medina of Marrakech

Eat near the square

Around the Jamaa el Fna square you will find some restaurants where you can eat to recharge your batteries. This way, you can get a taste of Moroccan food, although if you are really interested I recommend you to book a gastronomic tour dedicated to the country's gastronomy.

Otherwise, I can make some recommendations:

  • The Dar Cherifa, which overlooks the square.
  • The Chez Ben Driss, where you will enjoy good traditional dishes at a reasonable price for the area.

Book your gastronomic tour Marrakech

Enter the Dar Si Said Museum

Touring the Dar Si Said Museum| ©Marrakech Riad
Touring the Dar Si Said Museum| ©Marrakech Riad

Returning to the interior of the medina, the next destination will be the Dar Si Said Museum. In addition to its collection, consisting of textiles, carpets and objects belonging to the Berber culture, the very building in which it is located stands out for its architecture.

The museum is housed in a 19th century palace and features the typical Moroccan courtyard, as well as beautifully decorated wooden doors.

Koutoubia Mosque

The most important mosque in Marrakech is the Koutoubia ("of the booksellers" in Arabic). Unfortunately, its interior is off-limits to non-Muslims, so one must be content to contemplate its beautiful architecture, decoration and, of course, its famous minaret.

The latter, about 70 meters high, is immediately reminiscent of the Giralda in Seville and remains the highest point in the city.

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A sunset and mint tea on a terrace overlooking Jamaa el Fna

After such a busy day, the best thing to do at this time is to return to the Jamaa el Fna area and look for some of the terraces overlooking the square.

Here you can have a coffee or mint tea and, at the same time, enjoy the sunset and watch the atmosphere of the square change. I recommend two of these places: Café Glacier and L'Adresse Jemaa Al Fna.

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Back to Jamaa el Fna for dinner

Jamaa el Fna transforms as evening falls. The vendors that populate it during the day are being replaced by food stalls. It is undoubtedly a good place to have dinner at very cheap prices.

Of course, competition among the outdoor restaurants that are installed is very high and it is not uncommon to try to attract you in a way that can be too insistent. A great tip for your trip to Marrakech is to stay calm and go for the place that catches your eye.

Book a guided tour of Marrakech

Day 2: Excursion to the Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains| ©Spixey
Atlas Mountains| ©Spixey

After having squeezed the most out of your stay in Marrakech during the first day, the next day will be dedicated to an excursion to the spectacular Atlas Mountains. On the way back, you can spend some time relaxing in a hammam and recover from riding a camel.

Excursion to the Atlas Mountains from Marrakech

Hiring an excursion to the Atlas Mountain s is one of the best things to do during your stay in Marrakech.

This excursion is going to take you to breathtaking places like:

The meal, included in these excursions, takes place in a Berber house so you can check the differences between their gastronomy and that of Marrakech.

Book an excursion to the Atlas Mountains

Enjoy a bath and massage in a hammam.

After having spent the whole day in the desert, the best thing to do when returning to the city is to relax with a bath and a good massage in a hammam in Marrakech.

A hammam is a traditional Arab bath and Marrakech has a good offer of this type of premises, although I recommend that you opt for one of those for visitors. Although the price is somewhat higher than those used by locals, they have the advantage of being mixed and provide everything you need to make the experience unforgettable.

Book a bath and massage in a hammam in Marrakech

Day 3: from the Jewish quarter to the modern area passing by the Saadian tombs and two palaces

Bahia Palace| ©Jorge Láscar
Bahia Palace| ©Jorge Láscar

The last day of your stay in Marrakech will be dedicated to some of its monuments that you have not yet visited. Some of them, such as the Saadian tombs, are really essential, and many of them are included in the guided tour of Marrakech that I definitely recommend you to hire to make your trip a complete experience.

Finally, in case you have to take the plane this same day, here are some tips on how to get from Marrakech to the airport.

Bahia Palace

This palace is one of the visits that no one should miss during your stay in Marrakech, the Bahia Palace. If possible, on your way to this place I recommend you to make a short stop in a beautiful and interesting square: the Place des Ferblantiers, full of stores selling tinplate objects.

Built in the late nineteenth century, you only have to contemplate the gardens of the palace (especially the small riad inside) and the space where the harem was located to understand the importance it had at the time.

Book a guided tour of Marrakech

Mellah: the place of refuge of the Jews

A short distance from the palace is the old Jewish quarter of Marrakech. Its construction dates back to the 16th century, when groups of Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal found refuge in this city.

The neighborhood, although already with a sparse Jewish population, maintains an essence that differentiates it from the medina.

Its narrow streets hide some really interesting corners, although I recommend you to visit the Jewish cemetery and the Salat Alzama synagogue.

Saadian Tombs

To reach these spectacular tombs, it is best to do so from outside the walls and enter through Bab Agnaou, the gate that led from outside the city to the royal kasbah.

The tombs, built by order of Sultan Al Mansur in the late sixteenth century, were forgotten for centuries after being walled up by a later sultan. After being rediscovered in 1917, they have become one of the main treasures of the city.

The entire architecture of the complex stands out for its careful design. In its first courtyard are the tombs of secondary characters, such as warriors or servants. In one of the buildings surrounding this courtyard is the most spectacular part of the complex, the so-called Hall of the 12 Columns. It is in this room where the remains of Al Mansur himself rest.

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El Badi Palace

Near the tombs and right next to the Royal Palace are the remains of the El Badi Palace. Unfortunately, most of it is in ruins, but it is still worth strolling through its orange garden and surviving ponds.

Moreover, from the remains of its ramparts you will be able to contemplate some of the best views of the city.

Museum of Marrakech and Almoravid Qoubba

Returning to the center of the medina there are still two short interesting stops before reaching the modern part of the city.

In the first of these stops, the Museum of Marrakech, I recommend that you just stop to look at its wonderful central courtyard, with a beauty that makes it highly recommended.

Nearby is the Almoravid Quobba, a dome-shaped building that is the last example of architecture of that time in the city. It is particularly interesting inside, where there is a souk called Souk Foudouq Ouarzazi.

Menara Gardens

The last hours of the stay in Marrakech will be devoted to a couple of areas that are outside the center. The first is the extensive Menara Gardens, the largest in the city.

These gardens, which have eight centuries of history, are a veritable oasis in the middle of Marrakech. In fact, it is a popular visit for locals looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets.

Dining in the modern area

Depending on the time you have, a good idea to end your trip may be to walk to the nearby modern area of Marrakech, the so-called Gueliz district,

. This area was built by the French during the protectorate and has in the 16th of November square its nerve center. From this square depart several avenues with a very different atmosphere than you can find in the old city.

You can take the opportunity to dine in Gueliz, as it is full of restaurants both traditional Moroccan food and Western style.

Book your guided tour of Marrakech